How To Provide Great Customer Service on Social Media

Written by Sarah on 19th April 2016

Top quality customer service can have a huge effect on your brand, especially if you’re not currently providing it. With people spending the majority of their time on social media nowadays, social networks have become one of the central hubs for solving customer problems.

While this is great for users, getting solutions to their issues on the same platform that they spend most of their time, it puts customer service in a very public space for businesses.

With that in mind, here’s 6 things you should know to help you provide top notch customer service on social media.

Focus On Where Your Customers Are

Similar to when you’re planning your social media strategy as a whole, you need to find out which social networks your customers are active on. With so many social networks these days, it’s too easy to stretch yourself across them all and end up wasting time and effort.

Think of it this way, if you know that the majority of your customers hang out at the shopping mall and a couple hang out at the park across the other side of town, you would keep your customer service agent at the shopping mall and not the park, right?

Focusing solely on the networks where your customers are means you can provide a better service, which will only improve your brand image.

Monitor for Mentions

It’s pretty much common sense now that you should be monitoring social media for mentions of your business/brand. It means that you can jump into any tweets or posts where the user might not have tagged you, but is still worth you jumping in to respond.

Buffer Customer Support

It also means that if someone mentions you on a platform that’s not one that you’re focusing on, you can still respond.

Monitoring also means that you can appropriately plan your resources and your answers. Maybe there’s a question that you keep seeing pop up that you could add to your FAQ section or support base, or you notice that you get more mentions at a particular time of day, so you should arrange your team around that time.

Speed of Your Response

By using monitoring to plan your resources, it should allow you to respond to queries much quicker. According to research 42% of users expect a response on social media from a brand or business within 60 minutes. Social media moves fast, especially on Twitter, so users are expecting similarly fast responses.

Be careful though, don’t respond straight away without having looked into their query at least briefly. While it’s great to acknowledge that you’ve seen their post, most users would like some kind of answer.

Know When to Take Things Out of the Public Eye

Part of the reason customers post their complaints on social media is because of the public nature of these platforms. This element of transparency can be great for showing customers how well you can deal with complaints, and can only boost your brand image.

However, sometimes it’s necessary to take things out of the public eye. Perhaps you need sensitive information from the customer in order to look further into their issue, you don’t want users sharing order information over a public forum, so it’s completely appropriate to ask a customer to send you a private message.

Sometimes you might also get a customer who has quite a few queries, or you have quite a lengthy conversation going back and forth. Again it’s totally appropriate to take this out of the public feed so that you can manage it better.

O2 Customer Support

Know When Not to Respond

The Internet is full of trolls and keyboard warriors, it’s a fact that will never change. Undoubtedly you’ll probably come across a few in your time as a customer support agent.

As much as you should respond to the majority, if not all of your customer queries, some of these just aren’t worth responding to. If you’ve already offered a solution to their issue but they continue to rant and rave (and especially if you’ve asked them to move it to private messages), then don’t be afraid to stop answering. Many of these trolls are often not real customers, so it’s not worth spending the time on them.

If you can, check your system to see if you have a record of them as a customer to give you some context for your response.

Have fun with it, show some personality

While chat bots might be the future, everyone appreciates the human touch from time to time. One of the best ways to show this is with personality. Yes, an element of formality is required when dealing with customers, but if it suits your brand, don’t be afraid to show a bit of personality.

Innocent Drinks Customer Service

Not only does this provide a great customer experience, but depending on how much personality you put in there, you could garner yourself some PR.

Take a look at how Tesco, a British supermarket, handled this post from a customer, Dav, lacking chocolate in his gluten-free ice cream. Dav’s initial post was quite tongue in cheek, writing a descriptive story about a customer whose “glory days were over and the prospect of a world without a chocolate coating brought an incurable ache to his heart.”

In their reply, one of Tesco’s customer support agents, continued Dav’s story with an equally brilliant piece of writing featuring sherbet mountains in the land of Tescodonia, unicorns, tigers, warriors and cone kings. Despite that, Stephen, the ‘Warrior of Tescodonia’, still managed to deal with Dav’s complaint appropriately, yet in a way that garnered over 4000 reactions, 2000 shares and 500+ comments.

Tesco Customer Service

Furthermore, when other customer agents have responded to related comments further down the thread, readers were disappointed by the lack of personality.

Obviously that doesn’t mean that you should rename yourself as the Ninja of Customer Support and start mentioning Nyan Cat in all your replies. What you should do is judge the customer and their post; if they seem open to a fun reply go ahead!